publishing trends

Why is Oxford University Press entering Indian language publishing after over 100 years in India?

It’s a surprise move from one of the leading publishers of academic books in English.

After over 100 years in India, Oxford University Press India is all set to expand its publishing programme to include Indian languages, starting with Hindi and Bengali translations and original titles. Sugata Ghosh, director of OUP’s Global Academic Publishing, spoke to Scroll.in about the list and the plans. Excerpts from the interview:

What was the impetus behind launching this new, ambitious initiative?
Oxford University Press was established in India more than 100 years ago. In this long span of its existence it has disseminated knowledge resources in only one language, which is English. The world from then to now has changed rapidly, so have its inhabitants. We find more and more people aspiring to resources in Indian languages as they lead the cultural, socio-political, and economic growth engines of our country.

To bridge this gap between the local and the global and to fulfil our mission of providing excellent scholarship, research tools, and education to as many people as possible, we embarked on this initiative of publishing quality books, both new non-fiction and translations in Hindi and Bengali in the first year (2018) to be followed by more languages in the coming years.

What is the selection criteria for the books?
In the first year, which is 2018, we plan to do mostly translations of our backlist titles, as we gear up to publish new authors for the coming years.

We have decided on this shortlist depending upon the socio-economic and cultural aspects of both the languages. Our Hindi titles are mostly education oriented and we hope these will assist readers in their careers and in advanced studies. We also hope that these books will find wide readership outside of academia, since these are titles that many readers aspire to reading in Indian languages, but hardly have access to. These are books by authors such as RS Sharma, Veena Das, Irfan Habib, and Romila Thapar, to name a few.

The Bengali readership is a little different from the Hindi readership, mostly in terms of the choice of titles. The Bengali market is attuned towards books on history, political science, etc. which are not specific to reference purposes. For these readers, we have focussed on a collection of our widely acclaimed titles, including those of Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, Romila Thapar, Mushirul Hasan, and André Béteille.

The inaugural list is heavy on non-fiction and five out of the seven titles were originally published by OUP India. How do you see the list shaping up over the years? Will there be room for original fiction and translations?
The list will include new works and translations of academic and non-fiction titles in both print and digital formats. We also publish translations of fiction from Indian languages to English. We hope that these translations help enrich the English language to the same extent to which they were groundbreaking in their source languages. We do not plan to embark into original fiction or translations of fiction under the Indian languages programme.

Research and scholarship exist in a complex ecosystem of apathy and hope in India, more so in Indian languages. Through this programme we plan to encourage new and already established authors within and outside academia to contribute to the expansion of our knowledge resources. In the first few years this list of new academic and non-fiction titles will be small, but as we grow (we hope), so will the enthusiasm of readers and writers in regional languages.

We also plan to translate some of the bestselling non-fiction titles in the country published by other publishers. We believe that Hindi and Bengali readers have always found literature across various novel disciplines restrictive ­– being published only in English. By translating some of these titles into Hindi and Bengali, we plan to bridge this gap between the two worlds.

Many encouraging initiatives and opportunities are being made available to readers, writers, translators, etc. For instance, there are publishers who are making their titles available in more than one language simultaneously. At OUP India, we plan to contribute significantly to this initiative by creating a space for critical engagement across languages. We plan to shape our programme – through originals and translations – in a way that makes it as formidable as our English publications.

Is there a reason you are starting with Hindi and Bengali books? How many languages do you plan to expand the programme to?
There is no particular reason apart from the fact that Hindi and Bengali have wide-ranging readers, writers, and speakers, both in terms of number and variety. Also, given the resources at our disposal, these two languages were the most accessible to begin with. We have not decided on a definite number yet. We plan to first and foremost establish the two lists we have begun with. We will then think of expanding to other languages once we are a bit settled with these two languages ––in terms of new acquisitions, editorial inputs, distribution, readership.

The regional language market is extremely price sensitive and many a times books are rejected because of their sheer length as it makes the cost of translation prohibitive. This often leads to a compromise on quality and design. How does OUP plan to package these books?
We respect the nature of the market we plan to enter. Given this, we do not wish to in any way compromise on the quality of the translations, editorial quality, design and production. We are constantly engaging translators who are well-established, followed by multiple rounds of peer reviews, to ensure that the standard of our Indian language books match our English language volumes. However, to keep our price points within people’s reach, we are looking at different and modern possibilities. Our aspiration is to offer a completely different experience to the three pillars of the business that we are in – authors, readers and distribution partners.

Academic presses are not known for aggressively marketing their books. Often their books are not available in mainstream bookstores. The inaugural list suggests that the target readership for the books will continue to be schools, colleges and libraries. Correct me if I am wrong.
Since we are an academic press, our core readers are mostly scholars, researchers, students, etc. However, contemporary OUP intends to strike a fine balance between a traditional university press and a press that does out-of-the-box publishing. Our product offerings are varied in both form and content. With the changing nature of the academic world, we are continuously reinventing our publishing programme. As the institutional market dwindles across the world, and not just in India, we are expanding our programme to offer resources to a wider group of readers through serious non-fiction works – well-researched, thought-provoking and capable of starting healthy debates. The Indian languages programme is also an initiative in this direction – and we would be happy to offer these to the regional language readership.

As we are continuously relooking at our offerings, our marketing and sales strategies have also changed. Our books are available across all major bookstores and e-commerce websites in the country. Every publisher would like their books read and not sit in warehouses, be they academic or otherwise. Gone are the days when books would fly off our shelves on the strength of our branding. Aggressive marketing is now essential to make our books visible in the face of competition from other publishers – and we are gearing up fast. Our marketing and sales departments are ready for the challenges of modern book retail, and are constantly working on modern reach-out methods – both in digital and brick and mortar spaces. Our languages publishing programme will be no different.

What sort of infrastructure have you put in place to carry out this programme? How many titles do you plan to bring out every year?
We have a small team curating the programme right now. With this team we plan to publish around 10 titles in the first year. We will add 10-15 titles each year, and hope that the programme takes off as we have planned. The proportion of translated titles will also decrease over the years as we increase our focus on new titles.

I was pleased to note that OUP has started paying advances for some books. Will authors be paid advances under this new programme?
Yes, we are quite open to paying advances depending upon the readership potential and quality of the works proposed – in English , as well as the regional languages.

The non-English translation market is getting crowded and competitive. Penguin Random House recently tied up with Manjul India and Amazon has big plans for this segment. How do you plan to compete with them? What is your USP?
We are a brand that most readers already associate with. We also have a strong backlist. We plan to translate from both our backlist and front list. In terms of new books, the process for publication with us remains the same. As publishers, our intervention and contribution towards the development of an Indian language title remains as committed as with our English publications. We also hope to make our regional language books available in both print and digital formats, making access simple and diverse in both form and content. We intend to introduce a higher degree of professionalism to regional language publishing by ensuring that we play by the rules and comply with ethical terms of business. So translation is going to be a small yet important component of this futuristic programme.

Some of the books on your inaugural list would do very well in foreign languages. Any plans on the anvil?
Rights for our books have been sold across the globe and for different languages, and we will continue to pursue this for appropriate titles.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

Play

The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.